You know Vionna likes to watch and make observations after all, that’s why my blog is called vionnaswatching. Well I’ve made a few observations lately especially when it came to one Classical concert I attended recently (for legal purposes let’s pretend any relations to a certain classic concert held recently is pure coincidental) Back to my observations, I was fortunate enough to have grown up in both worlds. The “normal” background and the “Barbie” background as termed by people out there. Anyway I digress much, back to my rants and raves. The classic fusion that was held here in Mombasa meant to be awesome. While being advertised, many thought they would get to see the orchestras that were named performing. Mombasa being a touristic place is full of white people, and most of my white friends too were pretty excited about it. The place was already full by 5:30pm when we got there. As usual all Kenyan events never start on time, the show started at 7:30pm. Many people there came with their kids it was a really nice family affair event. You know there is a but somewhere in that sentence. We hoped we would see one of the orchestras playing but sadly that wasn’t the case. They brought an amazing boy band and I must really stress how amazing they are for the first performance. Now even the Bible says there’s an appointed time for everything. A time and place for boy bands to perform and a time for classical music. I remember hearing a few mumbles behind me, some people didn’t have a single clue who the musicians were, others asking which symphony they were meant to sing and I just smiled to myself. Seated next to us, were some serious groupies of the boy band playing very young girls who were screaming their lungs out making it all to be a hangout concert of some sorts and not the class that comes with classical music( there is a reason why classical music starts with class you know) Now this was a mature crowd full of mature people and when this girls were busy screaming while one of the boys in that band was grinding his waist on stage I just thought to myself the white people and strict lovers of classical music really felt wasted. Personally, I felt wasted. Fortunately Ladysmith Black Mambazo came on stage and redeemed the show. And the boy band groupies that sat next to us sat their tushys down not having any clue who they were. And the night was saved thanks to Lady Smith Black Mambazo. But I’ve got to give credit where it’s due, the boy band and Mambazo’s Diamond on the soles of her shoes collaboration was really something for a show stopping end! It was worth staying till 10pm for it. Below I have simply stated my observations, you don’t have to agree with them but hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I’m just stating mine.
1.Why classical music and most Nairobi orchestra choirs are full of white people: MOST white children, the moment they turn three their parents try to enhance their talent, take them for music lessons. They learn to play a music instrument at a very early age and hence tend to appreciate such kind of music not forgetting that their parents make them attend such concerts too at such an early age.
2.Why classical music is not a Kenyan cup of tea event: MOST African/Kenyan children the moment you are able to walk and play outside, you are chased to play outside so fast and come back to eat during lunch, sleep and then go back to play and beaten when you come back home dirty as if we were meant to play while giving any consideration to how dirty we got while playing. The music instruments we played were the old Blueband and Cocoa tins turned upside down and turned into drums if they were not made into cooking jikos for kalongo. We didn’t have time to learn such instruments. For us dirt was good, and having to play the cymbal or flute during music lessons in school was good enough.
3.The Misplaced people who attend such events: Now I know we as Kenyans have a tendency of always wanting to be with it. Just for show or hype, so when we here a classic fusion function we are so there to socialize, wear our leso dresses, big sunglasses and turn it into another Blankets and Wine event. Yet, most people there just come to meet up with friends not having any clue as to what symphony is being played or who’s conducting the band. Maybe that’s why such organizers of such events have to throw in a band that’s not necessarily classical to balance the crowds. A band that I must say is turning out to make women crazy when they start performing, I don’t know if it’s going a little overboard when I liken them to the Beatles, but the way women go into a frenzy when they start performing show’s how talented they are (for safety purposes and fear of getting lynched by women, I will not name the boyband)
4.We need to define between classic and afro fusion: I know I sound like a broken record now, but seriously can we stop with the I’m feeling so African back to my roots I need to dress the part look. It’s becoming to annoying now, even the lesos are complaining. So let’s leave the afro fusion attire for afro fusion events and not turn every bloody event to a Blankets and Wine theme.
5.Last but certainly not least, timing and organizing is important: If you know you have Lady Smith Black Mambazo in your lineup, you need to go the extra mile. Print enough tickets expecting a large crowd and have it in a venue that has enough parking space and plenty of big screens to watch for others. And please for the love of humanity, keep time! Nothing as annoying than arriving for a concert on time and having to wait for more than an hour for the show to start!
Don’t get me wrong, I love how we as Kenyans are embracing the classical, jazz music culture and having our very own Kenyans in orchestras and bands. We’ve started harnessing the skills of our kids now at such an early age which is very commendable. If we manage to stop letting TVs and X Box games to be their babysitters and start teaching them music skills, maybe soon we all will embrace this events whole heartedly. I know classic music is not our thing, we love music that we can dance to and not just close our eyes too, but when we attend such events, can we at least try to pretend we have a clue as to what’s going on musically? And with those few rants, I rest my case as I still feel duped by that classical fusion that was held in Mombasa that didn’t have any orchestra. Even their Safaricom choir would have sufficed. Oops, I just said the name out loud. If this was the first time they were organizing this, I would have let it slip but since it’s not next time make it a classical event will ya?!
Peace and Blessings, Vionna